Systems Studies

Participatory Evaluation of Organic Production System in Southwestern Louisiana

Several researchers (Francis et al., 1990; Murray and Butler, 1994; Poudel et al., 2000) have suggested farmer participatory research methods for problem identification, research design, and implementation of research results in developing production strategies for enhancing agricultural sustainability and environmental quality.

Development of a biologically integrated food waste composting system

Sustainable agriculture and food systems depend upon the efficient use and recycling of nutrients in order to minimize dependence on non-renewable resources - such as fossil fuels and mined minerals - and to prevent contamination of ground and surface waters. Yet, as modern food systems continue to industrialize and globalize, environmentally sound nutrient cycling becomes increasingly difficult because of the massive scale and concentration of agricultural production enterprises, food processing facilities, distribution systems, and food service institutions.

Statistical review of California's organic agriculture

The size and growth of organic farming has stimulated considerable discussion and speculation. Farmers, agribusinesses, policy-makers, public interest groups, educators, researchers and investors-all need reliable information on organic agriculture to make informed decisions about business strategies, teaching and research agendas, and institutional policies. Statistical analyses of organic farming contribute crucial information for these decisions.

Plant mobilization of trace organochlorine residues in vegetable cropping systems

Soil testing has long been a part of Organic Certification. As part of the certification process, each grower must submit soil tests for lab analysis. The soil is subjected to chromatography tests to determine the extent of contamination by organochlorine insecticides. These compounds classify a wide range of noxious agricultural pesticides, many with half lives exceeding twenty years. Unfortunately for conventional and organic growers, even at hardly detectable levels these contaminants are finding their way into agricultural products.

On-farm analysis of soils, crop performance and profitability of organic, integrated and conventional apple production systems

In April 1994, a high density commercial orchard of `Golden Delicious' apples on EMLA.9 rootstocks was planted on four acres of a 35-acre apple farm in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. The farm is managed by two brothers, Andy and Eric Dolph, who decided with our help to set aside a portion of their farm and examine the sustainability of three different apple production systems: organic, integrated (i.e., low-input), and conventional.

Organic apple production in Washington State: A 1994 survey of growers

Organic apple production in Washington State has been steadily increasing since 1991. Acreage took a dramatic jump in 1980 in response to the Alar crisis, but most of those farms only remained in organic production for one season. This was largely due to the difficulty of controlling codling moth (Cydia pomenella), the primary direct pest in the region, and also in response to the collapse of market prices for organic fruit due to the huge increase in supply.

Farm Made: A Guide to On-Farm Processing for Organic Producers

There are two obvious barriers organic producers face when they consider on-farm processing. The first is psychological. On-farm processing can appear intimidating and beyond reach, on one hand; on the other, it may seem unnecessary to someone who is already “adding value” by raising crops or livestock organically. The second barrier—a more pragmatic one—is the lack of good, producer-friendly information on small-scale organic processing and handling. 

Fundamentals of Organic Farming and Gardening: An Instructor’s Guide

In 2006, Georgia Organics developed an organic farming curriculum guide that was extremely popular—almost 1,000 copies were distributed to instructors across the nation within a year. The curriculum was also added to the Georgia Department of Education’s Agricultural Education Curriculum CD, distributed annually to all high school agriculture and science educators in the state.
 

Bat Houses for Integrated Pest Management-- Benefits for Bats and Organic Farmers: Phase I

Bats are helpful to farmers, as they consume large quantities of insect pests, but many bat species are declining due to loss of roost sites. Farmers can help bats by providing new roosts in the form of bat houses while at the same time benefiting from batsí pest reduction services. However, as much of the evidence for batsí roles in insect biocontrol is anecdotal, further studies are needed to better document batsí contributions to agriculture.

Targeted mowing as a weed management method increasing allelopathy in rye (Secaule cereale L.)

Winter rye (Secale cereale L.) is an outstanding cover crop in its suppression of early season weeds. This suppression has been largely attributed to allelopathy; ryeís allelochemicals inhibit weed germination and growth. However, its lack of suppression of late season weeds and its inconsistent results between years and regions hinder the use of rye as a cover crop. This study, which is Part I of a 2-year project, explores a management method that may be used to increase weed suppression of rye by manipulating its allelopathic activity.

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